Phantom TaxEditor: Your January 6 editorial, ''Phantom Tax...


January 19, 1992

Phantom Tax

Editor: Your January 6 editorial, ''Phantom Tax in Montgomery'' is critical of impact fees to fund the schools, road and other services that are made necessary by residential land development.

You complain that such fees add to the cost of new homes. You should recognize that the failure to require developers to pay the costs that their actions impose on local government amounts to a subsidy.

According to studies by some Maryland counties, $9,000 to $10,000 per house will pay only for capital costs and would not even begin to cover continuing operating and maintenance expenses, such as road crews, school buses and teacher salaries.

Suburban sprawl is wasteful in terms of land and services. It is fair that those who choose to live in such an inefficient manner be forced to pay its true cost.

There are many things that government could do to increase employment and stimulate the economy.

Those of use who are concerned about the continuing loss of rural lands to housing developments are disappointed to learn ,, that we will have to pay higher property taxes to serve these developments.

Government should subsidize housing only for those who really need it.

Instead, in most counties we subsidize the destruction of farmland for the construction of houses beyond the dreams of the truly needy.

William G. Shimek.


Taxing Gas

Editor: A recent letter writer complained that regular unleaded gas in Baltimore costs seven cents more a gallon than in New Jersey.

But he appeared to be directing his anger at the wrong people.

The state gasoline tax in Maryland is eight cents higher than in New Jersey (18.5 cents vs. 10.5 cents). As if that weren't enough, Gov. William Donald Schaefer has requested an additional five-cent rise in the gas tax.

Iver Mindel.


Won't Work

Editor: Your Jan. 10 editorial, ''A Taxing State of Affairs,'' calls for increased taxes.

You applaud the governor's ''courage'' in seeking new taxes and plead for the General Assembly to show similar courage.

The ''courage'' you seek from our politicians has neither reason nor prudence as elements. Maryland already ranks near the top on lists of high tax states. Consumers, short of funds or fearing they soon will be, are not leading the way out of the current economic stagnation. Yet the governor and The Sun ask the General Assembly to take more dollars from the consumer. Government receipts reflect the trend of the economy.

If higher taxes would help the economy, your proposal would make sense. That is not the case. Increasing taxes will not work, indeed it will make things worse.

Jim Schultz.


Breast Implants

Editor: In The Sun's Jan. 11 article about breast implants, a counselor for a support group for women with breast implants said ''explant'' surgery was complicated.

This could not be further from the truth. It is a very simple surgery done almost exclusively under local anesthesia.

In a related editorial, ''FDA Acts on Silicone Implants,'' The Sun noted that ''women will at least be able to make informed choices.''

fTC That is exactly the problem. If implants are removed from the market, women will not have a choice.

People do not realize the pervasiveness of silicone in their lives. If silicone is so dangerous then it would make sense to also ban canned whipped cream, molded candies, needles, syringes, heart valves, artificial joints, pacemakers, antacids and cucumbers.

I am a nurse. I do not stand to gain financially from the continued availability of implants.

But I do see -- every day -- the profoundly positive effect prosthetic reconstruction provides for hundreds of our post-mastectomy patients.

Incidentally, we have had only one request for an explanation from a patient. She is without symptoms of any disease, she is just worried.

The vast majority of plastic surgeons are dedicated and caring people. They would not continue to use something they thought would harm women and they certainly would not do it for money.

Virginia L. Vitello


Pat Has Guts

Editor: Three hearty cheers for Pat Buchanan!

Of all you thousands of columnists, TV pundits and editorial writers who pontificate from the bleachers on how to run this great country, he is the only one with the guts to get down on the playing field and into the fray.

He deserves much more respect than he is getting from you know-it-alls. Stop belittling this courageous man and start reporting on his campaign.

Willard Cea.

Severna Park.


Editor: We applaude The Sun for publicizing the need for organ donation (Dec. 30) "Organ Donor Pool Shrinks as Trauma Care Improves."

While your article suggests that the number of donors is declinging, the opposite is true.

During 1991, the number of donors in Maryland increased almost 20 percent over 1990's figure. In 1990, there were 13 percent more organ donors.

The Transplant Resource of Maryland oversees this effort and should be commended for raising public awareness of the need.

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